tv Quadriga - The International Talk Show LINKTV April 10, 2015 9:00am-10:01am PDT
n of east asia encompasses three subregions: japan; north and south korea; and china, mongolia and taiwan. the late 1900s saw the reemergence of east asia as a world political, economic and cultural force. nearly 1.3 billion people reside in the region's largest country, china. the province of guangdong is on china's southern coast. this area has sustained extraordinary growth in recent decas, thriving as a basof manufacture for a obal economy. advancements in communication and transportation facilitate globalization. containerized shipping is a cost-effective means of transporting a variety of goods. guangdong's relative location to hong kong's ports and financial infrastructure is key to determining its position
at the epicenter of chinese economic development. through guangdong, we see the forces of globalization at work in the pearl river delta and beyond. manybservers argue the costs and benefits but few dispute that globalization is the most profound reorganization of the world since the industrial revolution. the driving foe of globazations economic and at the core of the global economy is the global production system. du neng ji makes nike shoes-- one ofens of thousands of nike employees scattered across the world. du neng ji and his fellow workers are a small part of the chinese link in the chain of global production. ( du neng ji speaking chinese ) translator: the reason i came to work here is simply to earn a living.
i came from chendgu in sichuan province. i didn't have much of a job back home. i've been working at the number two factory for 2½ years. i feel good about it. my ambition is to become a manager. narrator: most of these workers are like du neng ji. until the factories came they eitheratched out a living fm farming or had no work at all. now life has changed dramatically. ( du neng ji speaking chinese ) translator: although we have to work hard for eight to nine, sometimes ten hours a day, i still feel very happy. i live in a dormitory, but i feel as if i'm living at home. narrator: millions of chinese have left their homes to work in places like guangdong. man: china has changed. it's one of the most exciting places
to be doing business in the world right now. narrator: these workers make almost half a million shoes a month but nike could have these shoes made anywhere in the world. why did they choose to make them here? the answer lies in a mix of local and global factors. the ctory is located in guangng province in southern china, near the capital, guangzhou, and about 100 kilomers from hong kong. and the proximity of hong kong is the key to massive foreign investment throughout guangdong province. people who work in the world economy who work in the global trading system, trust hong kong. they know what to expect there. they know they're going to have certain guarantees if they invest money and this is what is really driving this thing. it's that... it's that proximity to a system that they know and trust and feel very comfortable working in. narrator: the guangdong factory where du neng ji works is owned by a taiwanese company
and operated jointly by taiwanese anchinese management. and when these entrepreneurs or investors orate from hong kong-- these overseas chinese-- they are coming into a cultural milieu a cultural environment where they feel quite comfortable. so the idea of native place, where someone originated from is a very, very powerful current in chinese culture even today. narrator: so here, local factors such as its location relative to hong kong cultural and ethnic nks throughout the region and a history of stable trade relations all contribute to guangdong's rapid economic growth in recent decades. but just as important are the global forces exerted by the spread of global production systems. the pattern of development for global production facilities has been shaped by the drive for cheap labor.
man: the diffusion from japan to south korea to taiwan and then subsequently to other parts of southeast asia isriven by seeking low-we labor. narrator: and the search for inexpensive labor has led companies like nike to china. compared with ny parts of the world such as america, europe or japan, du nenji earns ltle-- the equivalent of just 80 u.s. dollars a month. however, by chinese standards, he and his fellow workers earn a healthy wage. the changes the new industry brings to china are dramatic. by the mid-1990s, more than half a million factories were at work in guangdong province. on brown: it is an emerging, uh, ge growth country, uh, very exciting. there's building going on everywhere. the whole province the whole country, basically
is under construction. narrator: towering hotels and commercial buildings show china's ambition to play a key role on the worldnomic stage. in 21, after years of negotiation china was admitted to the world trade organization, cementing its role as a player in the global economy. this nike ctor forxamp fits in a chain of productio that stretches around the globe. orders for nike footwear are placed in its headquarters in beaverton, oregon in the united states. complex communication systems allow the head office to arrange raw materials and allocate production to factories around the globe. guangdong has virtually none of the raw materials for making shoes, but they can be imported through hong kong. and here in hong kong, we finally meet the unsung hero of the global economy--
the freight container of containerized shipping. this homely steel box holds up to 60,000 pounds of raw materials like rubber or leather or finished goods like sneakers. and since it was invented in 1956, it has slashed shipping costs dramatically. in just the last 15 years, the cost of shipping a vcr across the pacific was reduced by 95% from $30 to about $1.50. computer tracking and instant communications have also improved efficiency of the global assembly line. as these bar codes are read, nike's main computer on the other side of the world is automatically updated. the computer tracks production supplies right to the factory floor. this leather came from venezuela the rubber from malaysia.
these synthetics came from taiwan, japan, germany and america. all nike's shoes made here in china are sent back through hong kong for export. and here the bar code reader again connects to corporate headquarters to track the delivery of the finished goods to customers around the world. nike is able to harness low-wage structures through use of its flexible production system and with the encouragement and support of china's government. nike doesn't own these factories. production can be moved at very short notice. that means nike could stop producing here if wages became too expensive. but according to cliff pannell that's unlikely. pannell: the labor force in china is huge. there are, uh, over 600 million people at work in china. uh, most of them are still in the agricultural sector of the economy. and there are too many.
there are probably at least a hundred million redundant laborers in the agricultural work force. what to do with them? how to make them more productive? well, one thing is you've got to enhance their mobility and allow them to go where the jobs are and the jobs are down in places like guangdong province and the pearl river delta. new factories are building a lot of new construction workers are needed transportation workers are needed factory workers are needed. narrator: and here we can begin to see the local impact of the powerful forces at play in this globalizing economy. migration, urbanization, cultural and social change are echoing across this region. pannell: this is going to be one of great human processes of change that happens anywhere in the world-- this enormous flow of people out of the rural areas into the cities or the peripheral areas of the cities where these factories are, taking up these jobs. narrator: wherever you look at the process of globalization,
you will find evidence of local change. managing the social and political friction th such large-scale change inevitably crees is sure to be among the new century's biggest challenges. in guangdong, we see globalization in actio it works here because of the very specific characteristics of this unique place. the province's available bor force, the transportation of containerized shipping, a communication infrastructure the relatively stable political environment and the relative location and cultural connections with hong kong all make guangdong a noteworthy player in the global production enterprise. in the geographic region of east asia is the island of taiwan. only about 250 miles from end to end, it is dwarfed mighty china.
however, taiwas small size belies a powerful economic tiger. today its thriving high-tech industries hungrily eye china's enormous market, but until recently investment in china was forbidden. old antagonisms stemming from china's 1949 communist revolution have estranged taiwan from its motherland. even so, taiwanese entrepreneurs have moved into china. we'll hear from one geographer who sees taiwan acting as an interface region between chinese business and western technology. a big question here is whether business relationships can transcend and perhaps ease long-standing political tensions. the peak-hour traffic in taipei is evidence of taiwan's growth as a powerhouse of development. taiwan's affluce is reflected
in the high level of motor-vehicle ownership. in theast, it became known around world as a producer of cheap labor-intensive goods such as clothing and textiles. today it is a major player in the development and manufacture of high-tech computer and telecom oducts and among the world's most rapidly developing economies. how was this change possible? just 60 years ago taiwan's economy was based largely on agriculture. its modernization began with the development of labor-intensive light-manufacturing industries. by the 1960s the world began to recognize the "made in taiwan" label on clothing and footwear. in the 1980s, taiwan was supplying electronic products
to world markets. but by the 1990s machinery and information and communications products were taiwan's biggest exports. development of these industries was no accident. about 30 miles southwest of taipei is hsinchu science-based industrial park, home to around 200 companies. founded by the government in 1979, hsinchu science park was part of a master plan to jump-start a high-tech microelectronics industry in taiwan. that plan began with a transfer of technology know-how from abroad particularly from the united states. a team of researchers was sent to learn the integrated circuit, or i.c., industry from the american electronics giant rca. when they returned the government saw its chance to cultivate this high-tech know-how
and funded their start-up company. taiwanese geographer jinn-yuh hsu has been examining the factors critical to the development of taiwan's high-tech industry. basically, for taiwan's high-tech industry the government play a very critical role in the process in the beginning stage. however, i think there's another key factor who pushed the taiwan high- technology industry forward, which come from the silicon valley returnees. narrator: silicon valley returnees. in the 1970s many taiwanese students went overseas to study and work. mr. hsing tuan is president of unipac optoelectronics in hsinchu park. his story is typical of the silicon valley returnees. he studied for his bachelor degree in taiwan
but then went on stanford university in california to complete his doctorate. after 12 years working on research and development in california's silicon valley he went home to taiwan. if i compare taiwan and the u.s. i would say that taiwan is very much like the early days of the west coast in... in the u.s., the so-called gold... gold rush time... you know, era. that is, there are more opportunities here than in the states, i think. and... so many of us who came back here look for challenges, and we certainly found many challenges. narrator: in the 1980s entrepreneurial returnees started more than 100 small firms, all with the support of the taiwanese government. science parks like hsinchu provided infrastructure and a space for experimentation and innovation.
man: we kind of evolved into another technology-oriented stage. the science park is treated as a kind of... you call it the enterprise zone, similar to united states or in european countries. narrator: the parks also provided financial concessions for companies to locate there. tuan: the science-based industrial park provides many monetary incentives to a company. for example, for the first five years the company doesn't have to pay tax to the country, and also there are several very good universities nearby which provide the kind of high-tech people we need. narrator: taiwan's shepherding strategy, critical to nurturing a fledgling industry was strikingly different from similarly developing economies like korea.
in korea, basically the government pick up the winner, so they choose the big company and the government borrows money for them to enter a new area like samsung or like hyundai. but in taiwan, basically the government just set up the bottom line. they say, "okay, everyone, "if you could choose a strategical area you can enter and the government will support you." so, under the circumstance lots of small companies can survive in taiwan's environment. narrator: that strategy made successful companies such as mr. tuan's unipac optoelectronics possible. tuan: our main products are tft-lcd. tft-lcd is the newest and best color flat-panel displays now, and since taiwan is a very big producer for portable products such as portable tv and notebook pcs
and that is the reason we would like to make this kind of flat-panel display-- to support our local... local manufacturers of such portable products. narrator: as a testament to its success, hsinchu park is running out of space. every year, more than 20 companies apply to become part of this high-tech development enclave. the park is having difficulty absorbing all these new enterprises. to deal with this situation, the taiwanese government is establishing science parks in other regions of taiwan. science parks like hsinchu are a crucial catalyst in maintaining the growth and development which will allow taiwan to export homegrown technology. you have to expand your market area to areas outside of taiwan. and you look at the map, then it's very natural. you coulthink that mainland china is part of the markets.
narrator: the relationship between taiwan and inland china has been strained since 1949. in the wake of the communist revolution chinese nationalists fled to taiwan and established their own government. political tensions continue to flare on both sides of the strait. each society has those who desire independence for taiwan and others who believe taiwan should be reunified with china. and china's use of force to bring about reunification has always been a tacit threat. but the lure of lucrative business ventures may be able to transcend even political concerns. tapping china's high-tech market marks a third wave of taiwanese movement across the strait. 1986 saw the first wave. manufacturers of traditional goods like clothing d toys set up factories in china's southern guangdong province. there they found cheap land and labor for their assembly plants.
in the 1990s, chp again drew the makers of personal computer component parts to gngdong province. these componen were assembled for the u.s. and japanese pc brands that dominated the lucrative american mart, a market that proved difficult to enter for then unknown taiwanese brands. in 2001, china joined the world trade organization but as early as 1997, china's membership seemed assured. the opening of china's market was the big break taiwanese high-tech firms needed. no longer was china just a manufacturing base for other markets. it was the market a rapidly developing economy eager for taiwan brands. but to reach that market, taiwan needed a more central location. guangdong was too far south, too marginal.
so the third wave of cross-strait investment targeted shanghai and the chang jiang river delta. gateway to central china shanghairovided ss to china's heartland market, and perhaps just as important, access to the well-educated work force critical to hi-techmanufacture and development. hsu: the third wave, basically, the i.c.... i.c. industry, and they look for some talented people, engineers not just for cheap labor. and basically in china the chang jiang delta is one of the most developed areas in china particularly in industry structure and also if you look at education level. okay, so, this area is... is good for marketing and also recruiting engineers. narrator: but the move to shanghai is not just about selling computers. it's about an opportunity presented by something geographer hsu calls
the "interface region." "interface region" means... okay, means we have... silicon valley is a socioeconomic space, and china is another one. okay, and taiwan just overlapped these two regions. narrator: in this triangular space connecting silicon valley, taiwan and china lies the prospect of a mutually beneficial exchange of ideas and know-how. and taiwanese firms are uniquely qualified to facilitate that exchange. hsu: we have a long experience of business transaction with silicon valley, and we know the lure of the market, lure about how to run a high-tech business. we learned from silicon valley. and we have so dense social network in the technical community between these two regions, silicon valley and taiwan. we know china's market much better
than those western companies. so i think, for taiwan the way we can play is to play as an agent between the silicon valley firm technology and the china market-- try to connect these two together. narrator: with their silicon valley backgrounds and chinese culture, taiwanese firms have a unique opportunity to play a decisive role in china's developing high-tech industry. but geographer hsu notes they must act quickly. soon, china will have its own versions of silicon valley returnees. hsu: china already sent a lot of students to study in... in u.s. after '89. they study here four years five years, get a degree and then work in a big company just like the story in taiwan. the time for taiwan is very short, the timing is very short maybe just three to five years.
if we cannot play the role well, we will lose opportunity and the window of opportunity will close up, and i think taiwan will be... gradually, you know, fade out of the high tech and the economy. narrator: taiwan's having a role in china's high-tech industry is especially striking given their long estrangement. both governments actively discouraged cross-strait investment. but things are changing. in 1993, taiwan's government had a policy of "don't rush, be patient," to stem the tide of investment in china. but under new president shui-bian chen taiwan has entered a ansitional period. the government knows it cannot deny the momentum of business expansion. and on the mainland, local governments hotly compete for taiwanese investors, providing tax breaks and other incentives
because they know they are getting not only the technology but the people behind the technology. you need people, because today most of technology is embodied in human people. and if you have cultural affinity and if you can speak the same language and you know each other very well, you can get the transfer down very well. narrator: and in the end, that may be the most important of all. hsu: and maybe after 50 years after a long term of businesses and cultural exchange, maybe we can talk about if we can unite or separate. i think most of taiwanese people, you know, buy this idea-- wait and see. narrator: so much depends on the future of political relations
between taiwan and china. for now, the answer is "wait and see." taiwan is e ofast asia's biggest success stories. once associated with the assembly of cheap, inferior goods today this economic tiger is a leader in high-tech manufacture and development. with the knowledge of its silicon valley returnees and ability to work as an interface region taiwan has the opportunity to play a major role in china's high-tech development. deite political differences between taiwan and china there is hope that increasing economic integration can ease political tensions and provide further growth to the benefit of both.
rrator: in the region of east asia more than one-fifth of the world's population lives in china alone and 45% of chinese live in the chang jiang or yangtze, river basin. the snaking river is sometimes compared to a great dragon the powerfulional symbol. at its head is china's largest ty, shanghai. herewe elore its storical geography as a strategic natural port sometimes occupied by colonial rulers. more recently, market reforms and foreign investment helped create a global business center here. now, rapid economic growth has re-shaped the city'surban ography. shanghai-- world mega-city... home to 17 million people, and by
some counts e most denselyopulated ace on ear. it's now the economic capital of china and point of contact for much foreign trade. shanghai is a center of research, development and higher education. most new chinese cars are now made here. migrants from the interior flock to make new lives here. but the surge in growth is relatively recent. until 1991 shanghai was stymied. why was it held back and how did it boom? some of the answers may be found in china's historical geography, which colors its outlook toward foreigners. for centuries, the threat came over land, from the north and west. mongols and manchus frequently raided,
and often ruled, chinese society. more recently, the invaders came by sea. following a victory in the opium wars, the british won concessions in several chinese ports including shanghai in 1843. shanghai rched t zenith of its colonial power in the early 20th century. the outside presence can still be seen. the old foreign trading houses occupy prime positions on the waterfront strip called "the bund," a reference to german authority. ( machine gun fire ) ( explosion ) narrator: in 1937, japan invaded shanghai. its status as a trading city was virtually destroyed by the time chinese nationalists were driven from power
by the communists 12 years later in 1949. after decades of a planned economy beijing invited limited foreign investments in the 1980s. they wanted to spread the wealth around, so they chose locations based onultural connections and geography. from hong kong then still british adjacent guangdong was the natural place to invest. taiwan businesses preferred fujian. shanghai was passed over in part because the communists feared its history, power and foreign influences. its fate changed when shanghai politicians ascended in beijing and designated their city a special economic zone in 1991. since then shanghai has capitalized on its international legacy.
( man speaking mandarin ) translator: shanghai is the place where there has been a mixing of western culture with that of the east. shanghai has absorbed the best aspects of the cultures from around the world. woman: shanghai is what we call a learning location. it's where companies... foreign companies come lrn howo do business inhi and it's where thehineseearn how do you do ithwest-- what aspects of each systemcan we meld together to make it a place where we can do business together? the big shoret foreigncompies toome to china is technology transfer and also innovation. and that means an exchange of ideas and that's part of the vibrancy th's there. narrator: but what about shanghai's geography? what were the locational factors that gave rise to the city in the first place? 6:30 a.m., and the crew of the chiang sun no. 7 makes final preparation for its regular journey--
not out to sea but in the opposite direction. shanghai is not just a seaport but also the strategic gateway to inland china. it lies on the delta of the world's third longest river, the chang jiang, also known as the yangtze. it is asia's longest waterway, stretching more than 4,000 miles into china. captain gu will pilot his boat far to the west. ( speaking mandarin ) translator: my ship carries a mixed cargo of foodstuffs, medical supplies, farm produce and so on. but of course, priority is given to urgently needed supplies of one sort or another. narrator: the chang jiang is central china's lifeline and connection to the outside world. gu ( translated ): it offers a wide navigable course for ships.
it flows smoothly along its course so it is not plagued by strong winds or waves. so it provides favorable conditions for the transportation of goods. ( ship's horn blowing ) narrator: but the chang jiang has some shallow sections, both upstream and down, that affect the economy of shanghai. in both cases, china's new industrial might will try to overcome those limitations. upstream, the controversial three gorges dam shouldmprove navigation starting in 2009. the lakes behind the dams will allow oceangoing ships much largethan captain gu'enette farnland. the improved artery will just strengthen links with shanghai as it opens the west to greater economic development. ( ship's horn blows ) back in shanghai itself, the city's port has long been a hub
of conventional shipping. such craft serviced the city and even interior china. but the river's mouth carries much silt from erosion upstream. the deposits make it too shallow for the world's largest container ships. so in 1999 they dredged the river and greatly expanded capacity. but shanghai wants to compete with the world's largest ports like hong kong, singapore and taiwan. these cities operate transshipment ports, where containers are routed to and from destinations around the world. so shanghai is extending their influence out to sea. th are building a huge causeway to connect the yangshan islands, where th are buiing a new deepwar port. the first terminal will take five years to complete. according to geographer james wang, it's a huge gamble.
wang: maybe later on the shipping lines change their mind, not using shanghai as a hub. so, major shipping lines can go to another port near shanghai like ningbo, because decentralization in china at this moment means that local ports can compete with each other to attract those major shipping lines to use other ports instead of shanghai. shanghai may lose, there's a possibility. so shanghai is trying to use ve means to make sure that in future, shanghai will be the only hub in that area. narrator: but more than rivers were clogged here. shanghai had to use all its muscle to deal with other kinds of congestion, too. xiang ( translated ): dramatic changes have taken place in shanghai
in the last few years. however, little or nhing was done about urban services in shanghai. this led to a number of problems. for example, the streets became choked with traffic there was air pollution and a growing shortage of housing. the size of metropolitan shanghai actually is almost exactly the same size as metropolitan atlanta. the difference in population again-- metropolitan atlanta is about four million people and metropolitan shanghai 17 million people. the population of... of the central city of atlanta is about 350,000. in shanghai, the central city is about ten milon people. so it's intensely occupied lan narratore bestlaceo expand was farther down ithe delta. now the metropolis is overtaking some of china's most fertile soil.
the area is called pudong, and it's separated from the rest of shanghai by a natural barrier. the mighty chang jiang forms shanghai's northern boundary. but a smaller river, the huang pu divides the old city to the st from pudong in the east. on one bank, the bunrepresents shanghai's colonial past. on the other, the chinese are building shanghai's future symbolized by the orntalpel radio d tvower visible here from space via the powerful ikonos satellite. chinese and foreigners alike now look across the river and see new power and new money. walcott: in pudong itself you have lu xia hue, which is the financial district, as if you could... re-created manhattan in five years. it's an enormous forest of steel and glass skyscrapers
that was erected with a bamboo forest of scaffolding and a hu amount of construction cranes. it's set up to be like a suburban western setting with lots of greenery, compared to shanghai. narrator: pudong's director of information. xiang: shanghai is the largest indurial center for china, and it's also one of china's most economically developed areas. a lot of china's advanced scientific and technological development is centered in pudong. walcott: the americans are there in financial services, real estate services education services technology such as motorola, food services-- pepsi and coca-cola duking it out in the same industrial park. taiwanese are there-- huge semiconductor factories billions of dollars of investment. singaporians are there in their industrial parks.
germans are there in small and medium enterprises-- chemicals, petrochemicals. so it's a large and diverse foreign population essentially learning how to do business in china, both for export and for the vast domestic market they hope to develop. narrator: but all this growth presented a real problem for urban planners. shanghai's original port and airport are separated from pudong by the huang pu. some traffic flows through new bridges and tunnels, but big volume needed new infrastructure. ( man speaking mandarin ) translator: we developed the pudong area so that it had its own port, its own air terminal its own railway facilities. in that way you would not need to have tunnels or bridges linking it to the city proper. narrator: the new chang jiang river port is here close to the center of pudong.
but the airport lies farther south and east. for some people, it's a little too far. it's lovely, it'vast, but it is somewhat underutilized. partially this is because there's so much infrastructure and location around hongqiao the old airport. it takes a while to shift the center of gravity from one end of a city to another. an analogy might be between ronald reagan airport and dulles international. when dulles was first constructed way in the suburbs of reston, virginia, people thought, "that's crazy, who's going to go there?" i think it's really just a matter of time. narrator: as shanghai expands and attracts international visitors, it retraces its past again becoming the gateway between east and west. it's from here that foreign business will access the great chinese market clustered around their main artery. ( man speaking mandarin ) translator: i believe the chang jiang's waterways
can be opened up to even more shipping in the future. shanghai is the "head of the dragon." it will serve to promote reform in the inland parts of china and those areas along the chang jiang river valley opening them up to the outside world. shanghai's growth and expansion is srce of great pride and excitement for china. it sort of says "we can do it." okay, we havchinese thatre smart enough, that are clever enough that are competitive eugh that we can become a first-tier country; and shanghai will be, again, the dragon's head that leads us. narrator: so shanghai builds on its historical geography as a strategic natural port, sometimes occupied by colonial rulers. more recently, market reforms and foreign investment helped create a global business center. rapid economic growth has reshaped the city's urban geography.
as china modernizes, geographers see three major disparities among places here. the first is the uneven development between e wealier coastal provinces and the st undeeveloped interior. we will look at the village of sijia, which has contact with both regions. it is located on china's most important transportation artery, the chang ang river. sijia is therefore exposed to people and goods moving between the poorer hinterland and the pacific coast, fewer than 200 miles to the east. the second great chinese disparity is between rural and urban places. although sijiahaalways been rural, cities like nanjing and shanghai have a growing impact. the third disparity is economic, between the agricultural and industrial sectors. we look at a growing "township enterprise" and see its impact on a small, rural
town. october marks the rice harvest in china's chang jiang river basin. li many people inhe town of sijia ang guifang grows riceand gees for her family. she even sells a surplus. bu0 a.m. ey, the rest of jiang's family join workers like these, not in the fields, but in new jobs that bring special prosperity to some chinese villages. this i e huafga factory and its story illustrates the efforts to overcome some chinese disparities. onodera jun is a japanese geographer
at the ursity of hong kong. it is 1994, and has come he to understandthe impact of new manufacturing on chinesearming villages. when it began in the mid-1970s huafa garments company had only 20 employees. between 1984 and 1986, the factory grew rapidly. in 1990, it attracted its first foreign investors from hong kong. in 1994, the factory had 350 sewing machines and 450 employees. the workers have just finished an order for jeans. they will be shipped to hong kong and then to new york. whether run by a municipal government, village council or private individual, th type of business is called a "township enterprise."
in 1999, china had over 20 lln such besses. township enterprise output grows almost ten percent a year, just adding to the disparity between industry and agriculture. the disparity has always existed but now it is growing wider and wider because of the industrial... faster growth rate in the industrial sector. ( interviewer speaking mandarin ) translator: why did you decide to work here? ( speaking mandarin ) translator: i started working here 15 years ago right after i graduated from middle school. this company is special. i've gotten attached to it and it would be hard to leave. narrator: onodera visits the home of jiang guifang and her husband, rui chengyun. three memberof their family work in the factory.
jiang guifang is preparing lunch. today, it is green pepper and pork stir fry. an advantage for a farming town like sijia is that fresh vegetables are readily available. at 11:30 a.m., the factory closes for lunch. many employees live nearby so they go home. the communist system once tried to ensure income for everyone in china. no longer. since market reforms wages for these workers are tied to profs. they earn the equivalent of $25 to $35 per month. they work long hours. most employees work from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. with oy two days offr mo daughter rui kaimei comes home from the factory where she makes sewing patterns.
working so many hours there, her six-year-old daughter has been waiting eagerly. inijia, enclosed courtyards adjoin concrete houses kehis one. this boy is another grandchild the only sonof rui's eldest son. ( boy squealing ) narrator: lunch is served. kaimei's husband also works in the factory. he is a purchasing agent. rui's daughter-in-law works in the factory's shipping department. in the 1970s and '80s, people were able to buy a few electrical appliances.
jiang guifang tells us that their two-story concrete house was built in 1988, the same year they purchased this washing machine. this air conditioner was purchased in 1994. that year, about 30% of the villagers had a vcr. and several years before that, almost everyone here had bought a color television set. in the 21st century, consumer technology races forward. more families have dvd and vcd machines than vcrs. in fact, in china, it is difficult to find vcrs to play videotapes. narrator: in many places, cell phones have leapfrogged land lines. zong-guo xia: in chinese the cell phone is called "big brother's talk machine."
it's sort of like an indicator of your economic well-being and your social status. narrator: in 2003, 12% of urban chinese families owned a personal computer, and many more connect to the internet through public cafes. although rural life changes more slowly, farmers, too, find new leisure. zong-guo xia: they changed from three crops a year to just one crop a year. when they compare their living standard today with what they had, life on the farm is much easier today than 20 or 30 years ago. ( speaking mandarin ) translator: in our village, there isn't anyone who is really poor. almost everyone lives in the same kind of house. the reason for this is simple. it's the factory. everyone works in the factory and has an income. three or four members, or even seven members of a family, work in the factory.
with everyone working, you can accomplish great things, like building a house. narrator: the family as a whole earns the equivalent of $1,200 a yr. farmg income represents only a small fracti of the whole. meat and fish are plentiful in the market today. rising incomes have fostered lively free market in sijia. despite the rising incomes the garment factory is growing so fast today that the village can no longer supply all its workers. almost 20% of employees have come here from neighboring anhui province, just to the west. everyone works very hard but migrants have few amenities. ( speaking japanese )
translator: as more foreign capital flows into the area, more labor is needed than can be supplied locally. also as the population increases, there is an increasing need for services for the new residents. more people create the need for businesses, which, in turn attracts even more people. this cycle will be repeated over and over, resulting in rapid urbanization. while this process is especially noticeable near hong kong, i beeve that we will see the same thing happening in t vicinity of nanjing anross southern jiangsu province. narrator: like many places in the coastal region, sijia is rapidly urbanizing. and yet, an old restriction slows this transition. although kaimei and her family work in the garment factory, they are officially registered as farmers. in china, one is born either "rural" or "urban." residency is based on home location
and is difficult to change. so migrants from other rural areas may move to sijia to work in the factory. but 80% of china is rural, with perhaps 150 million unemployed-- more than the entire u.s. workforce. yet no one may move legally to any cities, like guangzhou. so millions move illegally to find better jobs and schools. transportation, housing, human services and public health would become even larger problems for the government. dense cities like guangzhou were fertile grounds for the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or sars. zong-guo xia: if they eliminate this residency requirement they are not in a position to accommodate such a huge flow of people from the rural area to the cities. narrator: so towns like sijia remain officially rul.
but recent changes here help break down disparities between urban and rural china. agriculture here is now joined by light industry, blurring the old distinctions. even township enterprises attract migrants from less developed regions to the west, just widening the gap between the booming coast and the less developed interior.